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Ancient Theatre of Ohrid

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The small town called Ohrid looks like an ancient theater oriented towards the lake like it is a scene. This theater-shaped town has one ancient theater that is tracing existence since many years ago. The first usage of this was there to perform arts.

The theater was built following the famous Greek stone buildings of this kind, with a rich architectural decoration. The theater building was decorated with a frieze of barrel tiles that included scenes from the life of the gods. On two marble plates, which are preserved at the Ohrid Museum today, the god Dionysus is presented in a scene with the Muses. Some of the then city prefects had bought and owned seats in the theater, such as Crisp and Topos as great fans of theatrical art because their names still stand engraved in the stone blocks of the seats. Immediately after the Roman conquests of these regions in 148 BC, the theater was probably for a very short time adjusted to the needs of the Roman way of life. This means that this building was rearranged in an arena for gladiator shows with wild beast fights. Several of the lower row seats got demolished and several cages for animals were built. The orchestra with honorary seats was enclosed with a firewall.

Later in the upper, outer zone was built an epitheterone, which increased the capacity of the theater to 5,000 spectators. The euphoria that followed at the beginning of the 4th century, when st. Erasmo Anthiokiski, the first Christian missioner in Ohrid converted to Christianity 25,000 people, led to the distruction of all pagan art. Probably to the destruction of the theater too, and its material and other objects were later used to build early Christian basilicas and many other sacred and profane objects. Since 2001 on the stage of the open reconstructed space of this ancient theater, drama performances, musical performances, and various other manifestations are held. Since 2001 this spot is perfect to enjoy summer concerts under the starry sky.

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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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